After a brief hiatus in honor of a dear and beloved friend, we are back. To give a quick recap of last week’s episode, Mr. Clown died, Dandy took over his mask and he killed Patti LaBelle. And that’s about it. A lackluster episode that never quite hit the mark. I’m hoping this week we can get back to what AHS does best: the weird, the freaky, the wrong and the “oh hell no” moments that keep me up at night.
We start the show at the American Morbidity Museum’s “Night of Discovery” – a posh (read: boring) affair where they’re debuting a new exhibit called Modern Mutations. The first display is of seal boy (who I thought was a lizard, so I was way off), just his torso, encased in a tank.
Turns out it was just a fantasy Stanley was having. Maggie (a.k.a. Esmeralda) finds it far-fetched because where will he find the tanks? The murder and transportation of the freaks is no problem, but finding a tank? Now that’s a pickle. But Stanley already has it figured out. Then Maggie declares she will not be involved in a murder, but Stanley assures her it will just be an “accident.” His main focus is to preserve the specimens – meaning he needs to kill them cleanly so the corpses stay “pretty.” But wait, are we just going to gloss over whatever his Trojan boy-toy found inside Stanley’s trousers? Cuz I’m still dying to know. Some magazines fall from his suitcase and they look to be the 50’s version of gay porn. Maggie says the only thing people had worse than freaks are “poofs.” I can’t even type that with a straight face. But he acquiesces and Maggie says she’s in on his plan, but only if she gets more money. Way to keep those priorities straight.
At the Mott house, Gloria comes downstairs calling out to Dora. Well, Dora ain’t answering. Dandy tiptoes down the stairs as Gloria begins screaming her head off over Dora’s dead body. I would’ve thought Dandy would further dismember her, so I’m pretty surprised he just left her there in her pool of blood. He comes running and feigns surprise, claims it was an intruder. Gloria doesn’t believe him for a second and he offers to help dispose of the body. Says they can dig a hole in the backyard. Gloria sends him to his room and says she doesn’t want to see his face for the rest of the day. Wow, quite the punishment there, Gloria. That ought to teach him. He walks away, smiling. Literally, getting away with murder.
Stanley makes his way into Elsa’s tent and they take a shot to get the conversation going. This Elsa knows how to do business. Stanley claims to work for WBN, the biggest television network in the world. Elsa is disgusted by the idea of television, but Stanley tells her that TV is the future. She ain’t buying it. She knows for a fact motion pictures will never be replaced by TV and she wants to be on the big screen. Stanley kisses her hand and says he is sure her performance will slay him. Yup, it will. Or his eardrums, at least.
Jimmy is practicing his act and Esmeralda walks up behind him. He says he’s got stage fright because they have a packed house. She says it’s all for him, the local hero (oooh, better not let Dot catch you flirting. Or actually, I hope she does. This episode needs some action) and offers to read his palm to take his mind off of it. He declines but she challenges him and he accepts. She says there’s a man coming and not to trust his promises. That he should leave right away, go to New York. She says he smart and good looking and can do whatever he wants. He leans in for a kiss and she turns way. She still tries to get him to run away by declaring his future is bright. But he tells her to “save it for the paying customers.” He walks away saying he was an idiot for believing he had a chance with a girl like her. Awww, that was kind of sad. She really does care for him if she’s trying to get him to leave before Stanley can kill him. I hope they get it on at some point.
Ethel is looking for Dell but can’t find him so she sends Jimmy to look for him. Jimmy pounds on the trailer door and Desiree tells him that Dell isn’t there and she doesn’t know when he’ll be back. Jimmy tells her to get ready for her show and she isn’t in the mood. She reminisces about Dell and downs a couple of shots. Jimmy takes a seat next to her and randomly brings up Meep. Then confesses about killing the cop and cries some more about Meep. There’s no logical bridge between what Desiree was saying and this sob fest, so I have no idea what is going on with this scene. Desiree assures Jimmy that he’s “one of the good guys” and he goes in for a kiss – this kid has some raging hormones. At first Desiree pulls away and then they get to some heavy petting. She hasn’t gotten anything from Dell in a while so she is ready to go.
Jimmy starts working his magic claw on her but then she squeals and makes him stop. He pulls his hand away and it’s covered in blood. He screams for help and everyone comes running. She’s got blood trailing down her legs and can hardly walk. Ethel takes Desiree from Jimmy and ushers him on to the stage. Uh, hello, he hasn’t even washed his hands. That is disgusting.
He heads up to the microphone with miraculously blood-free hands and introduces Elsa. And she’s wearing that ridiculous blue suit and the blue eye shadow painted across her face. The audience is bored out of their mind and then her voice cuts out. Praise Jesus. All we hear is her heartbeat and the audience starts throwing things at her. Jimmy helps her off stage and the curtain closes. Stanley meets Elsa in her tent. Television ain’t sounding so bad any more.
Ethel is with Desiree at the doctor (the same doctor Ethel got her diagnosis from) and Desiree asks her to stay during the exam. The doctor asks if she has a regular period and Desiree says no, maybe a couple of times a year. She says she thinks Jimmy pierced a hole in her. I think he broke her hymen, but I don’t recall that much blood when my cherry was popped. And how in the hell would she even have a cherry? The doc says he needs to take a look and God bless him, he doesn’t even flinch when he sees that Desiree has a D and a V. Desiree says that the midwife declared her a boy when she was born but then she grew breasts and a vag. Doc says nope, you weren’t ever a boy. She had an excess of testosterone and her body produced excess estrogen to compensate and she got a third boob out of it. The penis she thought she had? Was just an enlarged clitoris. What the what? How the heck did she ever walk around with something that sensitive just hanging out and getting rubbed up against undies and pants and such? Doc says he can remove it if she wants and that her bleeding was a miscarriage. She was 12 weeks along and the baby just wasn’t viable. He spent about 25 seconds in her lady parts. He’s a damn fortune teller to come up with all that, but Desiree likes the news he’s giving her. Doc says in a few months they can try again to have a baby. Desiree is elated. Ethel doesn’t look too thrilled.
At the Mott house, Gloria has her gardeners digging a hole for her “plants.” The gardener ain’t fooled. He knows she only needs 18” and they’ve dug 12 feet. She says not to question her. The bulbs are from Holland. Good save. They toss some seeds over the newly filled hole with Dora’s body at the bottom. Dandy says her body will decompose and nourish the seeds and in spring when they bloom, her death will not be in vain. Yeah, dude. Cuz that’s everyone’s greatest wish: to eventually become Miracle-Gro. His mom says nothing. So he apologies for “putting her out” by killing Dora. She says he has the same sickness as his father: mental perversions that are common among the “extremely affluent.” Cousins marry cousins to keep the money in the family and eventually a psyho is born. It’s considered a “rite of passage” when you get a crazy one on your hands. Well, Gloria, you have hit the jackpot, cuz your son is a damn loon. Dandy says he just wanted to be an actor, to express himself, and if she’d just let him, none of this would’ve happened. No, son, crazy runs deep. This was going to happen either way. She says he can’t go around killing vagrants but she’ll “figure something out.” Can’t wait to find out just what the hell she means by that.
Elsa is getting fully dolled up in her tent to prepare for her publicity photos for her new TV show. I’m hoping these photos are black and white cuz homegirl has a lot to learn about eye shadow application. When she steps out to meet Stanley, she looks pretty stunning, but she get there just in time to see him driving away with Bette and Dot in the backseat. And we get an epic shot of Jessica Lange bitch face. Watch out twins. Somebody gon’ die.
Flash forward (or fantasy?) to the morbidity museum and Stanley has the heads of the twins in a tank. The curator says they’re “less pristine” and he says it’s because they died first. When she asks how, he says that they caught a cold.
Bette and Dot are having a picnic with Stanley. He’s got some cupcakes slathered in frosting that he baked (poisoned) himself. Bette takes a healthy bite but Dot has business on her mind and doesn’t take the cupcake from him. Dot starts choking and foaming at the mouth and Bette says it serves her right for being a glutton. She only took one bite of the damn cupcake. A big bite, but just one.
Stanley is seated beside a bed where Bette and Dot lay. Bette is basically a dead head, all green and gross. Dot is crying and saying it hurts so bad and she can’t hear Bette and begs to be taken to a doctor. Instead he offers her a cupcake. Cuz what else do you offer a girl whose dead sister is attached to her neck? Dot declines and begs Bette to wake up.
Then it flashes to the picnic again where Dot brushes aside the cupcake and doesn’t allow Bette to take a bite because they have to watch their figures if they’re going to be on TV. I’m confused. So…they didn’t eat the cupcake and all that other stuff was his fantasy of how it would play out? I think that’s what it was supposed to be, but it played out a little weird.
Dandy is in his play room wearing only tighty whities and is slathered in baby oil. He’s doing pushups and practicing his “faces” in the mirror. And then he’s just tracing his fingertips up and down his naked chest. Ugh, he’s so gross. Then he gets dressed declaring himself “perfection” and “greatness” and “the future.” He heads over to what I think is a gay strip club and there’s a sign with a clown on it saying “man wanted.” I don’t care what decade it is, when and where was a clown every considered sexy?
As he makes his way into the club, he bumps right into Dell who is double fisting some drinks. So Dell is gay? Was it Desiree’s big clit-penis he loved? I don’t get it. Dell is at a table with Matt Bomer (hubba hubba, I LOVE THIS GUY) and Andy (Bomer) shows Dell a drawing he’s done. Dell says he should be in some fancy art gallery. The drawing wasn’t that good, but if Matt Bomer handed me a stick figure, I’d declare it the damn Mona Lisa. Andy says some guy told him about a place in LA that he could go and Dell tells him not to believe it. Andy laughs and calls him “possessive.” Nope. No way. I am not buying that this Dell character has Desiree AND this guy. But apparently Andy is his “side chick.” Dell loses his shit over Andy talking about his strip club clients because he wants to be the only guy in Andy’s life. I feel ya, Dell. That is one fine specimen. Dell declares his love; Andy declares it’s only been a month. Dell says he’ll set up a place for Andy to get him out of the strip club. Andy politely declines and Dell sadly leaves. Well, if you’re gonna cheat on Angela Bassett, it better be with someone like Matt Bomer. God, he’s pretty.
Dandy strides up to Andy’s table and all I can think is: oh man…he’s gonna die. Andy asks what he’d like and what his prices are. It’s only $20 to take him home! I don’t know what this equates to in present day money, but that sounds like a bargain. Dandy smiles and I know where Andy’s going tonight.
Bette and Dot are talking about the television show opportunity when Elsa comes in. She says that Stanley has asked her to go along with them as well. Bette asks if she’d be a guest on their show. Elsa says that she would have her own show and would mentor the twins. Dot thinks, “I don’t trust her” so that Bette can hear. Elsa says to get some rest because she made an appointment for the twins with the best seamstress in town. Hmmm. Is that code for someone who is going to slice them up? Let’s get to it, AHS. There’s a lot of talk and not a lot of action and we’re 47 minutes into the episode. Dot knows Elsa is up to something and Bette doesn’t care; she wants a new hat.
Dell comes home to Desiree and she breaks the good news that she’s all woman and can even have babies. He says, “that’s great” and walks away. Well, that was convincing. Desiree tells Dell that Ethel has already told her about him being Jimmy’s father. He says he doesn’t give a shit about Jimmy. But Desiree is done. She’s gonna leave and have a nice, normal life in a nice house with some nice babies and it isn’t gonna be with him. She has finally figured out that she is too good for him. He tries to stop her from leaving and she just yanks herself away from him. Once she has her surgeries she’s gonna be “too much woman” for him anyway. Girl, you are too much woman for most men in this world. She’s a damn goddess. She storms out and says she’s moving into Ethel’s caravan. You go, girl.
Dandy is leading Andy through the forest to Mr. Clown’s van-o-fun. Andy doesn’t seem too bothered by it because he takes off his coat and moves to kiss Dandy. Dandy says he’s not a fruit and Andy says he knows Dandy didn’t pay $100 just to talk. Dandy says they should both get undressed with their backs to each other and “whatever happens, happens.” They both strip down to their tighty whities and Dandy’s got the clown mouth on and a knife in his hand. And then he hacks up my beautiful Matt Bomer. But he’s not dead and he tries to crawl away so Dandy stabs him another couple times in the spine. I’m sad. I was hoping he’d be in a couple of episodes. He’s just so pretty.
So he begins to dismember Andy, dropping an arm into a tub of acid (I think this should be hydrochloric acid because I learned on Breaking Bad that it will disintegrate human flesh, but I also learned on Breaking Bad that it will disintegrate a bathtub, so I’m not sure what it is). When he goes back to get the other arm, he discovers that Andy isn’t dead and he asks, at the same time I do, “how can you not be dead?” Then says that he’s starting to feel bad. A little late for that, bud. Andy begs to be killed and Dandy starts sawing. From what I understand, it is incredibly difficult to saw through human bone (I’m a writer, sometimes you need to know how to hypothetically kill a person) so they’re gonna be there a while.
Dora’s daughter, Regina (Gabourey Sidibe) calls up Gloria to say her mom missed their weekly phone call. Gloria says she’s fine and working very hard and won’t have time to call again for a month at least. Regina says to have her mother call her as soon as possible. She’s got some balls for a black woman in the 50’s, just ordering round a rich white woman. Gloria asks Regina what she remembers of Gloria as a mother when she and Dandy were children. Regina says she doesn’t remember her being around because they always had nannies then babbles on about how she didn’t go to Dandy when he called for her and that he never called for her again and blah blah – as if that one incident would’ve saved him from being a mentally deranged psychopath. So Regina says, “I’m feeling uncomfortable so I’m gonna go now.” (Despite the terrible acting skills and failed delivery on Sidibe’s part, the line was pretty funny.) Then gets really polite and asks if she could please ask her mother to call. I had to laugh. She got all tough on snooty white lady, but handled crazy white lady with kid gloves. She knows what’s up.
Gloria hangs up the phone and turns to find Dandy in nothing but those undies and covered in streaks of blood. How he got from the forest to their house in broad daylight like that, I have no idea. He didn’t even have any shoes on.
Elsa’s driving with the Twins in the backseat. Bette asks why they aren’t going into town. Elsa says she has a better idea.
At the doctor’s office, the doc is offering Dell his condolences on the miscarriage. But Dell isn’t there for sympathy. I think he’s there to scare the doc into not doing the surgery on Desiree. And it turns out I’m right. He breaks both the doctor’s hands and threatens to hurt the doc’s grandkids if he goes to the cops. Poor doc. I liked him.
The doorbell rings and Gloria goes to answer. It’s Elsa. With a delivery.
Well played, Elsa. Well played.
Despite a gruesome murder, it was another under-whelming episode. Most of the episode felt like build-up. Actually, most of the season has felt that way. There’s a lot of storyline establishment but not a whole lot of movement. There are a lot of storylines happening simultaneously but nothing feels full-bodied. We get bits and pieces of a lot, but not a nice, hearty bite of anything. Like it’s trying to be too many things so it ends up being nothing at all. There is a good foundation: the writers, the actors, the premise. But things are sloppy right now and off-balance and I’m hoping things come together and focus into something solid and substantial very soon. I want it to go from merely interesting to truly engaging. It’s got the potential, so let’s see where this goes.
Until next week…